I was born in New Orleans, where my father, Newt Gingrich, was studying at Tulane University, but I grew up in Carrollton, Georgia, a town of about 26,000 residents an hour west of Atlanta.
It was there that my dad embarked on the political career that ultimately led him to become speaker of the House; my mother, Jackie Battley, was beginning what became her lifelong career — teaching high school math.
My father’s career path was a little rockier than my mom’s. When I was 5 years old, my father lost his first bid for a congressional seat. Two years later, he lost again. Only on his third attempt did he emerge victorious.All of my childhood memories of my dad have to do with his runs for Congress; I can’t remember a time he wasn’t involved in a campaign.
From experiencing those losses at an early age, I understand the importance of dreaming big and working hard; I also understand the value of picking oneself up after failure.My parents divorced when I was in high school.
As I was growing up in small-town Georgia, I dreamed of becoming a writer. But, after earning a D in college English (word of warning: be careful what freshman classes you skip), I put that dream on the back burner — for decades.
In the 1980s, I started my own career, first in business valuation. After graduating from Presbyterian College? I earned an MBA Georgia State University in Finance, and the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.I then joined a wireless startup where I had the opportunity to do a bit of everything, including marketing, accounting, general management and intercarrier negotiations.
After a couple of years, I helped the owners sell the companies we managed to a larger organizations.From there, I moved to a publicly traded company and ended up running the financial planning department for BellSouth Cellular, a $3 billion wireless company. This work served as a great foundation for me to understand how businesses operate.
In the 1990s, I changed my career path so I could spend more time with our children, who were born just 22 months apart. Still, I worked part-time and served on several non-profit boards, including Our House, a homeless shelter; the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students; the Atlanta Society for Finance and Investment Professionals’ Foundation; and the Trust for Public Land. In addition, I picked up a number of strategic consulting, communications and marketing-consulting clients.
Nearly 12 years ago, I dared to embrace once again my dream of writing. First, I wrote a few columns for a local paper. In 2009, I became a syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. Since then I have written or co-written two books: “5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours,” (with my father Newt Gingrich, Crown Forum, 2009), and “The Essential American: 15 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own,” (Regnery, 2010).
During my father’s 2012 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, I expanded my communications expertise by serving as a senior advisor to the campaign, which proved to be yet another learning experience. I was often sent to represent him on the most hostile news outlets – great fun! I have appeared on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “The View,” and many others.
This spring, our oldest daughter graduated from high school and is on her way to college; her brother is just two years behind. It seems time for me to focus once again on how I can contribute more to the wider community.P.S. Among my passions: I LOVE tennis. I love to watch tennis, I love to play tennis and, if I can ever figure out a way to get paid to play tennis – my writing days are over!